NZCA Annual Sports and Cultural Tournament
Otago has a very strong connection with this event since its beginnings. The original event was held on “double tens” – 10 October, the national day of Nationalist China. It all began in Dunedin in 1947, when a group of Otago University students from the lower North Island arranged a soccer match with friends from Wellington. The Otago students, led by the Ngan Kee brothers, Willie and Doug, put together a team of students and talented local Chinese boys and played the team from Wellington on 10th October 1947 at Tahuna Park in Dunedin, as part the Double Tens celebration. The soccer match was the catalyst for meetings held in Dunedin to discuss the possibility of running a Chinese sports tournament.
In the following year, teams from a number of centres in New Zealand congregated in Wellington on 9th, 10th and 11th October to compete in a tournament of many sports including soccer, table tennis, netball and basketball. In 1947, the soccer team from Dunedin calling themselves Panda, drew 2-2 with the team from Wellington, Eastern. In 1948, these teams formed the nucleus of the Otago and Wellington teams that met in the final, which was won 4-2 by Otago.
Ironically, the Otago team then took on the name “Eastern” to play in the Dunedin 2nd Grade beginning with an 8-1 win over Caversham.
The tournament has subsequently become an annual event and in the latter part of the 20th Century moved to Easter. The tournament is now informally known as the "Easter Tournament" with members of the New Zealand Chinese Association gathering to compete in many different sports. Each major centre hosts the event once in a four year cycle – Dunedin, Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin etc.
The name of the tournament is now officially "The NZCA Annual Sports and Cultural Tournament", which combines sports along with a cultural concert, and social events for participants as well.
Interestingly in 1927 the Dunedin Chinese Residents donated a football trophy (cup), which is known as the Chinese Charity Cup. This cup is presented every year to the winner of the club championship, so is regarded highly by those who play club football in Dunedin.
Over the years, basketball has supplanted football in popularity and we have also seen an increase in popularity of touch rugby, indoor soccer, indoor netball, as well as dodgeball.
The NZCA Annual Sports and Cultural Tournament is the NZCA's largest event on the annual calendar and gives our members a chance to meet each other and renew friendships and competition.